Miller opts to keep music magazine trio

Pubhouse goes against grain

The music magazine troika of Vibe, Spin and Blaze have been taken off the auction block. In a week that saw Time Inc. shut down Life magazine and Conde Naste cease publication of Details, Miller Publishing Group has gone against the grain, opting to maintain ownership of three magazines that have been shopped to media suitors since last October.

Viacom, Time Warner, Essence and Wenner Media were among the companies said to have expressed interest in the magazines. MPG spokesman Jason Roth would not discuss terms of the prospective deals, but told Daily Variety that “none were compelling enough for us to sell.”

Collection assembled

MPG president and CEO Robert L. Miller, a former Time Inc. executive, bought Vibe from Time for $20 million in 1996. He acquired Spin from Bob Guccione Jr. for $43 million a year later and in 1998 launched Blaze, a Vibe spinoff focused exclusively on hip-hop.

Both Vibe and Spin were rocked by management upheaval in 1999, as their respective editors in chief, Jesse Washington and Michael Hirschorn, were fired in separate incidents. But 2000 ad revenues to date for both Vibe and Spin are up 10% over this period last year, Roth said. Circulation at Vibe has risen from 700,000 to 725,000 since October, while Spin’s circulation has remained flat at 525,000.

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